It’s been nearly 54 years since Judy Collins released her first album, but you wouldn’t know it talking to the 75-year-old icon.
“I do about 110 shows a year,” Collins tells PEOPLE in advance of her residency at New York’s Carlyle Hotel. “I have three, four new projects going on,” she continues, casually. “It sort of gets more and more challenging, but also more and more fun.”
“I have an album, Strangers Again – that’s coming out in August – and then another duet album that’s coming out after that.”
Collins’s 2015 output isn’t limited to just music and live shows, though. Less than three years after Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music (“I wanted to call it Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: The Music That Changed a Generation“, Collins says), she’s prepping another book. “I’m in the process of trying to get it finished. It’s about health and living the good life and how I’ve been able to do that and still work as hard as I’ve worked.”
“Working at the Carlyle turned me from a singer into an entertainer,” Collins says of her time at the classic NYC venue. “The intimacy allows me to begin to do things in a very different way, to draw from my own life, my own history, my own storytelling – whether it’s about starting out in the Village and learning songs from Dylan or working with Stephen Sondheim – all these stories started to pour out of me.”
“[The Carlyle] is so wonderfully representative of the diversity of New York City, and it reminds me of what I love about this city, all the different kinds of people from all different walks of life here. I don’t know that I could’ve been the kind of musician, the kind of person that I am if I hadn’t have come up here,” she says.
I mention that the Carlyle is one of the icons of “Old New York” that – like CBGB’s or the Chelsea Hotel – seem to be vanishing at an ever-faster rate.
“It’s not vanishing when I’m there,” Collins responds. As she enters her ninth year at the Carlyle, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’d disagree.